Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Media Art

Live concert broadcasts have been with us for some time.
I'm enjoying Mozart symphonies as I write this, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Simon Rattle. I was pleased when I still managed to catch part of the CBSO's Beethoven series which I could have gone to, it's local after all, but hadn't booked for.
The Proms are an annual staple on Radio 3 with some on BBC TV too.
The other week I went to the National Theatre live (or at least, I think it was live ... It may have been recorded from a live evening performance which was shown in the week). We all gathered at the local arts cinema in the MAC (Midlands Arts Centre) and spectated the play, with extra camera angles and the slightly odd feeling of being involved but at one more remove, especially when the audience at the National itself applauded and laughed (the play was a Victorian farce - they were meant to laugh): for a moment I thought the laughter was from the rest of the cinema, till I listened to the audio system.
I still enjoyed the play. Any problems were with the actual piece, not the fact of being in a cinema. This way, too, you get to have a cinema trip which includes an interval, something that's gone missing from films even when they last well over two hours, as they often do.
The Berlin Philharmonic can be heard and experienced via TV or the internet on a subscription deal.
So do we need to go anywhere? Could music and theatre be reduced to a core of properly-funded orchestras, acting troupes, all having their work sent out on live broadcasts and web streams, to TV and Radio, cinemas and websites?
Is multi-media endangering support for local performers? Or will it be a showcase that will draw us to live-in-the-flesh events?
Hard to say. All are interesting developments, and do give some a chance to experience concerts and plays they may otherwise have missed.
What technology makes possible will happen at some stage, and that doesn't have to be a bad thing.


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